UNCG Research congratulates Dr. Thomas Jackson on receiving $35,000 in funding from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) and the University of Virginia Miller Center for Public Affairs. The funding stems from a residential research and writing fellowship supplemented with an affiliated faculty member appointment at the Miller Center. Dr. Jackson’s project is entitled “Magnificent Militancy: The Black Revolution of 1963.”
Fifty years ago, the most widespread American protest movement of the twentieth century shook over 200 cities and communities, reoriented the priorities of civil rights organizations, challenged businesses and labor unions to open doors of opportunity, and pressured the national government to make the most significant policy concessions in nearly a century. Informed by history, journalism, and the social sciences, Magnificent Militancy explains key dynamics of persuasion, policy advocacy, and ideological suppression among four contentious circles of power in 1963 and 1964 — the African-American freedom movement, print and broadcast media, official Washington, and public opinion. Converging at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August, legions of local people joined national leaders in demanding desegregation of southern public accommodations, which became the core of President Kennedy’s civil rights bill. But beyond what liberalism would allow or conservatism tolerate, a broad coalition of human rights advocates demanded job creation programs and higher wages, equal access to workplaces and labor unions, affordable housing, integrated neighborhoods and schools, federal voting rights protections, and vigorous assertions of federal authority to prosecute police violations of civil liberties. Proposals articulated in 1963 shaped policies and debates about affirmative action for fifty years and helped generate a war on poverty with far-reaching consequences. A reconsideration of this revolutionary and counterrevolutionary time challenges us to consider the centrality of economic justice to human rights, and to think deeply about the possibilities and limitations of nonviolent action.